Addressing public sector legacy costs must be the highest priority for the greater Lansing region
Friday, January 29, 2016
Posted by: Eric Dimoff
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) today said a new report from Michigan State University on Legacy Costs Facing Michigan Municipalities underscores the urgency for the region to immediately embrace strategies to solve a looming crisis. The report from the Michigan State University Extension Center for Local Government Finance and Policy states there are more than $13 billion in unfunded retiree health care liabilities that face Michigan cities, villages, township and counties. Municipalities statewide also face $2.5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
“The Chamber has identified the issue of unfunded liabilities as the number one priority on our 2016 advocacy agenda and this report validates our concerns that our region must come together and solve this problem,” said Tim Daman, LRCC president and chief executive officer. “The impact of unfunded liabilities affects every individual in our region and will hinder our ability to attract business investment and jobs in our community.”
The MSU report shows the City of Lansing is ranked as having the largest unfunded liability of retiree health care of any Michigan city at $431 million. Ingham County is ranked ninth among Michigan counties at $83 million.
“The problem of unfunded liabilities is much broader than the City of Lansing,” said, LRCC director of government relations, Steve Japinga. “Overcoming this challenge will require an all-hands-on-deck attitude from the business community working together with our public sector partners.”
“We continue to support the work of the City of Lansing’s Financial Health Team and urge the Mayor and Lansing City Council to enact recommendations that come from that group,” said Daman. “We are also encouraged that the City of East Lansing will create a Financial Health Team and we look forward to working with that group as well.”